Impressing Simon Cowell on America’s Got Talent is no easy task, but a ventriloquist comedian may have found a way.
In PEOPLE’s exclusive sneak peek at the next round of auditions, airing Tuesday, Philadelphia native Michael Paul Ziegfeld unveils his best act to move on to the next round — and possibly score the Golden Buzzer.
While attempting to hypnotize his bird puppet with instructions, the contestant makes a joke that leaves Cowell shaking his head in disbelief.
“When animals are in a new environment, their biggest problem is obedience so what a lot of zookeepers and trainers and veterinarians use is a little hypnosis,” he says, using a silver necklace to move the bird’s head back and forth.
“This is not a heavy trance, but when I say ‘sing,’ you will sing. When I say ‘sleep,’ he will sleep. When I say…” Ziegfeld says before dropping the necklace on the floor.
“Crap,” he finishes — just as the puppet lets out a white excrement, much to the delight of judges Howie Mandel, Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough.
While Mandel covers his mouth in disbelief and Hough continues to laugh, Cowell wonders aloud: “Did that really happen?”
And even host Terry Crews is enjoying the act from stage left.
Cowell previously told PEOPLE that AGT has become a great platform for undiscovered talents to make a name for themselves, with or without a Golden Buzzer moment.
“If you have a natural gift, you’ve got great taste and you’re unique, you’ve got a shot. I think people, fortunately, have trusted the brand,” said the longtime judge and executive producer. “Comedians, magicians or whoever, they trust coming on the show because they’re not going to get ripped apart. It’s a good platform.”
America’s Got Talent airs Tuesdays (8 p.m. ET) on NBC.
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